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Art Nerd LA’s Top Gallery Shows of 2013

Happy New Year Art Nerds!!

Here we go, another best of 2013 list… being new to Los Angeles consider this a fresh set of eyes on the last 6 months. Certainly, there were many great 2013 exhibitions I missed before my arrival such as Stanley Kubrick at LACMA, Gary Baseman at the Skirball Museum, and Retna at MOCA.  It’s too soon to make any major statements about the LA art scene, but here are a few observations: 1) almost every neighborhood has a section of streets with fantastic murals.  2) Arts coverage would be drastically more efficient  IF only the LA galleries would cluster up into a few major districts + 3) leave their art shows up a few more weeks.

ArtNerdLA List of the Top Art Shows of 2013:

1) Kenny Scharf’s Pop Renaissance at Honor Fraser

Kenny Scharf's Pop Renaissance at Honor Fraser

Kenny Scharf’s Pop Renaissance at Honor Fraser

What artnerd doesn’t love a Kenny Scharf show?  Most impressive for me was how well this Scharf exhibition evoked memories of James Rosenquist’s F-111, in a monumental, multi-panel, installation sort-of-way. The images in the Pop Renaissance works were inspired by the iconography of Giovanni da Pordenone’s altarpieces and function as a reinterpretation of classic Renaissance paintings such as Bellini’s The Seven Deadly Sins.

KENNY SCHARF's POP RENAISSANCE at Honor Fraser

KENNY SCHARF’s POP RENAISSANCE at Honor Fraser

2) Ben Eine’s INNOCENCE at Corey Helford Gallery (CHG) Circa

Ben Eine INNOCENCE at CHG Circa

Ben Eine INNOCENCE at CHG Circa

These letters just keep getting better and better as Eine’s body of work matures.  Not only are the paintings great but the movie set production quality of this street wall installation within the CHG Circa space was well done.

Ben Eine INNOCENCE at CHG Circa

Ben Eine INNOCENCE at CHG Circa

3) This is Place Nowhere at Paul Loya Gallery

Corey Smith at Paul Loya Gallery

Truly hitting all marks as one of my fav shows of the year, This Place Is Nowhere featured works by Gordon Holden, Schoph and Corey Smith.  Three artists who take a serious (or not so serious) look at the society that surrounds us. In a “selfie” saturated world, these artists’ works are provocative and sarcastically comment on our pop-culture fueled society.

Gordon Holden at Paul Loya Gallery

4) Gary Baseman’s Mythical Homeland at Shulamit Gallery*

Gary Baseman's Mythical Homeland installation

Gary Baseman’s Mythical Homeland installation

One of the more emotionally moving art exhibits I’ve seen as of late, Gary Baseman, a prolific creative force produced a full scale birch tree forest installation inside this Venice gallery space.  Artist drawings, paintings and Baseman family memorabilia artfully scattered throughout the trees.  A visually delightful installation with a powerful personal story woven into all the artwork.

Gary Baseman's Wolyner Forest, 2013

Gary Baseman’s Wolyner Forest, 2013

*disclaimer* I started a new position at Shulamit Gallery in Nov 2013 so I’m biased, the gallery’s architecture and location is amazing.  I’ll leave it at that.

5) Beyond Eden 2013 at LA Municipal Art Gallery

Shepard Fairey curated by Birdman via Thinkspace Gallery

Shepard Fairey curated by Birdman via Thinkspace Gallery

2501

2501

These pictures do not do it justice but there were MANY great art finds at this weekend long event organized by Andrew Hosner of Thinkspace Gallery.  Think of a well curated, 6 gallery, pop-up fair in a manageable layout and great location. ArtNerdLA was a sponsor of this year’s event and we look forward to next year being bigger and better, check out beyondedenartfair.com for more information and im sure better pictures.

Handiedan prints via Spoke Art in SF

Dutch collage artist Handiedan via Spoke Art in SF

 6) NoseGo & Curiot’s Unknown Elements at Thinkspace Gallery

Unknown-NoseGo1

NoseGo & Curiot’s Unknown Elements at Thinkspace Gallery

Was great seeing this show pop up at the end of the year at thinkspacegallery.com Both Art Nerd NY (Philly) + Art Nerd LA  have a few interesting posts about NoseGo’s street art murals.  Both NoseGo & Curiot have unmistakably distinct iconoclastic styles, inspired in part by their respective practices as street artists.

NoseGo2

NoseGo & Curiot’s Unknown Elements at Thinkspace Gallery

7)  Jen Dalton’s ON A SCALE FROM NOT REALLY OK TO REALLY NOT OK  at Charlie James Gallery

Jen Dalton at Charlie James

Jen Dalton at Charlie James

Pithy truths meets Office Depot in work designed specifically for social interaction by NY-based artist Jen Dalton. The Anxious vs. Relaxed diagram reminded me of the endless stream of neurotic thoughts I see in most New Yorkers.  The best part was the gumball machine of judgements as I was both “guilty”and a “taker” which honestly sounded about right…

Jen Dalton at Charlie James

Jen Dalton at Charlie James

8) Bernar Venet’s Bugatti at Ace Gallery Beverly Hills

Bernar Venet at Ace Gallery Beverly Hills

Bernar Venet at Ace Gallery Beverly Hills

Umm so car culture is big here eh? I was surprised to see this $3 Mil Euro Bernar Venet designed Bugatti sports car inside a mega gallery in Beverly Hills. Perhaps that is prototypical LA gallery hopping and I’m just catching up… Regardless if you like cars or not, this one is absolutely gorgeous, expensive and math-nerdy too!

Bernar Venet at Ace Gallery Beverly Hills

Bernar Venet at Ace Gallery Beverly Hills

On that note thats all I have for 2013…Some honorable mentions go out to 18th Street Arts Center, The Hammer Museum, Santa Monica Museum of Art, Martha Otero Gallery, Luis De Jesus, Subliminal ProjectsLa Luz de Jesus Gallery, and LA Louver.  The Culver City district is great but those galleries don’t often have their openings the same nights and there are so many amazing LA galleries outside of Culver City.  Oh the trials and tribulations of being an art nerd in Los Angeles…hopefully 2014 will result in more LA galleries ganging up together to make high volume art viewing a reality. PS. The worst show I saw this year was Cecily Brown at Gogo Beverly Hills, the show looked like 18 versions of a vomit filled Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon on some huge canvases, YBAs man, ugh.

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